We understand that this is a perfectly natural question, especially for newer traders. Unfortunately, it is difficult to answer. To a degree, we believe it depends on the person who is doing the asking. With that in mind, let's have a look at some of the key points relating to this subject…
Learning to trade the markets requires a substantial time investment. Do not underestimate this.
One trader may have three hours each day that they're able to devote to the charts, while another may only have an hour. The more time you invest, the quicker you're likely to see results. However, it does not always work out this way. Having a mentor with a proven track record will highly likely help speed up this process.
Using your time effectively is also key. Spending thirty minutes reading about some trader whine and bitch about how trading is not possible is NOT effective time management. Focus on learning methods that have stood the test of time. Of course, this will take some research, but it's time very well spent if you ask us.
Having the right mindset
Having the right mindset for trading takes time to develop. Trading is an incredibly solitary venture, and without the correct psychology you'll find trading terribly frustrating and will likely fail to ever make consistent profits.
Before you invest time in this venture, it's wise to consider whether trading is a good fit, as this business really is unlike any other. Mull over the following questions and try to give yourself honest answers:
- When every bone in your body is telling you not to be, can you demonstrate patience?
- Are you usually a disciplined person? There's constant temptation in the market. So, having the discipline to stick to a trading plan is paramount.
- Can you handle losing money? This may seem a stupid question since let's be honest there are few individuals on the planet who enjoy losing money. Nonetheless, when operating in the markets, losses are a part of the business. Expecting each and every trade to be a winner is NOT something you can do. Well, you can, but it will likely end with you going insane and throwing your monitor out of the window. This is where thinking in probabilities helps a lot!
So much to consider
Everyone is unique and learns at different rates. With this, we believe it is almost impossible to definitively answer how long it'll take for any one person to reach consistency. Anyone who is telling you otherwise is either trying to lure you into buying something, or, quite frankly, doesn't know what they're talking about.
Therefore, the best answer to this question, in our opinion, is quite simply: 'it depends'. 'Depends on what?' We hear you asking. Well, many things… For example, some people are just better wired to deal with the stresses of trading. Being a naturally patient and disciplined individual is going to benefit you in your trading journey. Someone who rushes into things and lacks discipline may find trading a challenging endeavour. That doesn't mean that those who struggle will not become consistently profitable traders, it just means that it might take a little more time.
Let's keep in mind that trading, at least in our opinion, has no destination. There is no finish line here! It is actually a continual learning process.
With that in mind, especially in the earlier stages of one's journey, focusing more on the PROCESS of trading, rather than the result is advisable. If the process is correct, the results will undoubtedly follow.
Learning to trade the markets is an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish. Friends of ours who have traded the market for many years reported that, on average, it took them over 7 years to reach a level they were satisfied with. Of course, this doesn't mean that it will take you that long!